Zynga says "da" to $180 million Russian investment

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San Francisco-based Zynga's true worth has been debated for months as rumors surrounding a potential IPO have repeatedly made top news. Today the social networking game maker, best known for its Facebook mainstays, FarmVille, Café World, Mafia Wars and Zynga Poker, announced that a Russian investment group has invested $180 million in the company's future efforts.

First reported in the New York Times, Digital Sky Technologies (DST) of Moscow is already a well known entity in the social networking realm after investing over $200 million in Facebook earlier this year. The investment will likely elevate Zynga's market valuation, which hovered around the $250 million mark amongst the Wall Street types. In the article, Zynga may now be worth $1.5 billion or as high as $3 billion – not bad for a two year old company.

Of course, money and Zynga have a shaky reputation as of late. The company seems to have recovered from a scam ad deal that rewarded players for signing up service or goods deals with several shady vendors (the company has since removed such deals). And now there's new controversy as DST's list of shareholders includes a Russian billionaire named Alisher Usmanov, who's done jail time for fraud and embezzlement (a charge which he says was politically motivated).

The scheme used for the investment will allow Zynga's shareholders (and employees) to make some money while the company is still private, which of course DST might gain a bigger stake in Zynga's rumored IPO offering.

[via New York Times]
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